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Lucas leads BYU past Texas Southern to push No. 18 Cougars to 5-0
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball received a winning effort from upper and underclassmen alike as the Cougars advanced to 5-0 on the season with an 81-64 win over Texas Southern Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
It's the Cougars' first 5-0 start since the Sweet 16 campaign of 2010-11.
"Great game against another NCAA tournament opponent," said BYU senior guard Te'Jon Lucas. "A big emphasis for us was hitting the glass, and we were plus-14 in rebounds. We also wanted to take care of the ball, and we had less than 10 turnovers. That was a big reason that we came out and won.""
Lucas led the Cougars with 18 points, seven assists and two steals. He was complimented in the front court by 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks from freshman forward Fousseyni Traore.
After Texas Southern trimmed BYU’s lead to 12 with five minutes remaining, Lucas responded with a 5-0 run of his own. Lucas flashed into the paint and knocked down a floater to put the Cougars up 76-62. Following a steal from Alex Barcello, Lucas would get on the board once again with a driving lay-in and made free-throw.
Barcello would make the game’s final shot with an off-balance 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.
Traore made his presence felt on both ends of the floor for the Cougars, including a crowd-pleasing rejection of a Tiger jumper early in the second half. Barcello would collect the ball and send it ahead to Lucas for a transition lay-in.
Midway through the second half, Traore got onto the board from distance with a 3-pointer that pushed BYU’s lead to 14 at 65-49.
Nine different players scored for the Cougars, with Barcello adding 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Barcello’s takeaways were part of 12 Tiger turnovers forced by the Cougars. Each turnover led to fastbreak points for BYU.
Gideon George recorded the team’s first double-double of the season with 10 points and 16 rebounds, a career-high glass-cleaning from the senior forward. George led the team in outrebounding Texas Southern 52-38, including 20-9 on the offensive glass. The Cougars scored 20 points off their 20 offensive rebounds, while the Tigers were held to just five second-chance points.
Gavin Baxter recorded 11 points for the Cougars, including two dunks that brought the Marriott Center to life.
Texas Southern scored the second half’s opening bucket to trim BYU’s lead to 11 at 43-32. Baxter responded by throwing down an alley-oop lob from Lucas and cleaning up a missed Cougar shot with another dunk moments later.
BYU’s offense took a few possessions to find its groove as the game opened with a 4-0 run by Texas Southern. Lucas sparked the Cougar attack, kissing a shot off the glass from the right wing to give BYU its first lead at 5-4. After a driving lay-in on the ensuing possession, Lucas dished the ball to Traore for a floater that pushed BYU out to an early 9-4 lead.
The Cougars ballooned this early run into a double-digit lead that remained for much of the first half. Barcello closed the opening period how he ended the game with a 3-pointer that came in transition off an assist by Lucas. BYU led 43-30 at the half.
The Cougars next travel to face rival Utah on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MST at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. View the matchup between the Cougars and the Runnin’ Utes live on the Pac-12 Network or listen live on BYU Radio and the BYU Sports Network.
No. 18 BYU hosts Texas Southern on Wednesday night
PROVO, Utah – No. 18 BYU hosts Texas Southern on Wednesday evening at the Marriott Center before embarking on a three-game road trip. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Wednesday’s contest will be broadcast on BYUtv It will also be broadcast live on BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
BYU Notes (4-0, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
- With their 97-61 win over Central Methodist on Saturday, BYU opened the season 4-0 for first time since 2016-17. In those four wins, BYU has not allowed more than 61 points while holding teams to 38.6 percent from the field and 21.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- The Cougars are coming off back-to-back 30-point victories for the first time since December of 2019 when they beat UNLV at Vivint Smart Home Arena and Nevada at the Marriott Center.
- BYU is now ranked No. 18 in the AP and Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll released on Monday afternoon. It marks just the 12thtime since 1948-49 that the Cougars are ranked in the AP poll in November.
- Alex Barcello was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Monday becoming just the third Cougar under head coach Mark Pope to earn the honor. The senior guard averaged 20.5 points per game in wins over No. 12 Oregon and Central Methodist. On the season, he is averaging a team-high 20.5 points per game shooting 70.3 percent from the field, 60.0 percent from 3-point range and 100.0 percent from the free throw line.
- Barcello is one of 24 players in NCAA Division I men’s basketball that hasn’t missed a free throw this season (min. 2.5 makes per game). The senior’s 18 makes without a miss are also tied for the top in the nation with Drake’s Roman Penn. He has made 38 straight free throws dating back to last season, the third-longest streak in program history.
- Nate Hansen, Casey Brown and Atiki Ally Atiki all scored their first career point on Saturday. Atiki finished with six points and four rebounds while Brown and Hansen both connected from downtown late in the second half.
Head Coach – Mark Pope
- Alma Mater: Kentucky, 1996
- Division I Career Record: 125-71 (7th Season)
- Record at BYU: 48-15 (3rdSeason)
Texas Southern Notes (0-5, 0-0 SWAC)
- Texas Southern makes the trip to Provo at 0-5 following a 65-57 setback to North Carolina State on Sunday evening. The Tigers are in a midst of a 13-game road trip that includes stops at Oregon, Washington, Florida, Cincinnati and TCU.
- TSU is led by fourth-year head coach Johnny Jones, who has also spent time at Nevada, LSU, North Texas and Memphis. He led the Tigers to a 17-9 record last year including a trip to the NCAA Tournament where they defeated Mount St. Mar’s for their second tournament win in program history.
- John Walker III is the leading scorer for the Tigers at 12.8 points per game. The Houston native opened the season with a 19-point performance against Oregon followed up with a 15-point game against Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif.
Head Coach – Johnny Jones
- Alma Mater: LSU, 1984
- Division I Record: 352-278 (21st season)
- Record at Texas Southern: 57-44 (4hseason)
- Series Record: 3-0
- Last Meeting: BYU won 87-71, December 21, 2020
- H/A/N: 3-0/0-0/0-0
- TV: BYUtv
- TV Talent: Dave McCann, Blaine Fowler, Spencer Linton
- Radio: BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM
- Streamed Audio: BYURadio.org, BYUCougars.com/LiveRadio and the BYU Radio, BYU Cougars and BYU Gameday apps
- Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Mark Durrant (analyst)
- Live stats: BYUCougars.com